Aug 14, 2010

art kept me out of jail...


Today when I was strolling in M HKA (Museum of Contemporary Art Antwerp) which is one of the best contemporary art museums in Europe by the way I realized that I checked the current exhibitions this morning online like a local and ended up there without thinking of their location, how to get there and their opening hours. I felt pretty damn good about it... I really don't remember how many times I have been in Antwerp but definitely a lot. The city is a frequent stop for me and I think I stopped to do the tourist routines quite a while ago. I love this feeling..! I even know the bartenders and locals in my favorite bars... Awesome... Before we start to talk about other stuff I have to say a couple words about my day in M HKA though. Actually I went there to see Jan Fabre's show Art Kept Me Out Of Jail which has amazing footage of his performances from last decade with Marina Abramovic but I got stuck with the installation of an artist platform called Auguste Orts: Correspondance covering the entire ground floor and spent hours there. It was exciting, provocative, intellectual and inspiring. They triggered something rebellious in me I thought I lost some years ago. I definitely will look for more about them.

I also enjoyed the exhibition in KMSKA (Museum for Fine Arts) "Closing Time" by Jan Vanriet who had the chance to choose amazing artworks from the museum's permanent collection and presenting them with his own works to curate a last show for the museum before it shuts down it's doors for a long time for a massive renovation. I have to say it was a big ego to watch and I had fun. Today's last stop of my art tour was in FoMu (Photo Museum of the City Antwerp). I really liked the shows but it was extremely hard to find any info in any language other than Flemish in the building. Speaking of that actually the city has a strong attitude about the Flemish heritage which I got used to. I feel like hanging out with a friend who has a huge arrogance and pride about his/her roots, sense of aesthetics, education, etc. but also with whom you always have a good time.

Anyway I am so happy that I found also some time to have a late lunch/early dinner at Fiskebar. This is my second time there and I still think that it is one of the best restaurants in Antwerp. It is a superb seafood restaurant with an amazing wine selection. A place you want to spend more time after you finish your meal. Therefore I recommend to go there off hours like I did so you can stay at your table as much as you want and enjoy your espresso without feeling the pressure of the customers impatiently waiting outside on the sidewalk. The restaurant has a hipster feeling and set-up to attract the younger crowd which looks like it is working pretty well. The food is always fresh, really well presented but not so cheap. If you are looking for a nice night out with really good food and money well spent I wouldn't think twice.

Needless to say every night ended in De Vagant probably one of my favorite bars in the world. Again I tasted a whole bunch of jenevers but this time my recommendations go to the pure malt jenever "Genievre Vieux Malt" from Claeyssens Distillery which tastes like an underaged single malt whisky and Fillier Distillery's "125 years Jubileum Grain Jenever" blended using different grain jenevers and matured in oak barrels. They have more than 200 jenevers to taste and I am working really hard...

My favorite daytime joint in Antwerp is Witzli Poetzli. It is a small bar located next to the De Kathedral right at the citycenter where locals come together to drink their coffee or beer, read newspapers, surf internet, etc. and with a pretty good whisky selection. I love to watch the sunset from here and it is the place where now I am posting this entry from. I will be in Antwerp back soon and I am looking forward to spend some less crowded days in coming November.

Finally I want to encourage you to visit the Oxfam website and spend some time there which is an international confederation working together against poverty and injustice I am supporting for years and which has an amazing presence in this city making me so proud. I wish we can see them all around the world with their shops, meeting points, restaurants, organizations, etc. I had my dinner tonight in viaviacafe a series of restaurants supported by Oxfam worldwide and it felt and tasted really good...



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